back to article Microsoft slices Windows 11 update size by 40% (no, not by cutting hardware support)

Microsoft is boasting of how it reckons to have reduced the size of Windows 11 updates. Surprisingly "cutting hardware support" didn't feature. The monthly cycle of fixes for Microsoft's wares has been the bane of many an administrator's life over the years. The operating system's decision to go for a lengthy lie-down at …

  1. crediblywitless

    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. emfiliane

      That's most likely how they generated the reverse deltas in the first place, so now they're just moving the generation code from their staging system to the recipient without really changing much.

  2. ShadowSystems

    I'm confused...

    Wouldn't taking a system-wide snapshot prior to applying the updated bits, rebooting to apply them, & asking "Is it working correctly?" after the restart do the job quicker & easier? If the customer clicks yes then the computer continues as normal. If they click no then it reboots, restores to the snapshot, & sends a crash report to MS to let them know it didn't work.

    What, probably obvious, aspect am I missing that bloats the whole thing so far beyond it's basic needs?

    *Sets out pints of beer for the folks that answer instead of merely downvoting me into oblivion* Thanks!

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: I'm confused...

      I am confused too, is a reverse update a downdate, a backdate or a retardate?

      Also, if an update is required, one would assume it would be put together as a functional update rather than something that may or may not have to be withdrawn.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm confused...

        A "retro-date", where you claim you didn't even meet them, much less go out on a date where they described each of their many tattoos and who each of those were about and why those people were really bad people they no longer associate with and the details 'why' for each person at length.

        Sort of like what you want when Microsoft's updates go wrong, yes? Let's pretend it never happened...

    2. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: I'm confused...

      What you're suggesting should work well, seeing that is pretty much what I've been doing with Fedora Linux updates for the last 15 years or so:

      - make a backup with rsync onto a USB HDD

      - disconnect the USB drive

      - run dnf to download and apply updates

      - reboot

      I've not had any problems so far.

    3. General Purpose Bronze badge

      Re: I'm confused...

      How large is the snapshot and does the machine have room for it? (Consider especially old laptops.)

      How soon will you find out that the update's broken or damaged something? (Only extreme errors stop systems rebooting to familiar desktops.)

      If you do find a problem a day or a week later, how will you selectively roll back the specific problematic update without losing all the other configuration and installation you've done in that day or week?

      1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Re: I'm confused...

        "How large is the snapshot and does the machine have room for it? (Consider especially old laptops.)"

        You are joking? I don't believe "Windows 11" and "old laptops" are allowed to be used in the same sentence excepting possibly "Why would anyone bother installing Windows 11 on old laptops?"

        1. ToFab

          Re: I'm confused...

          Since Windows 11 has like a 10 years worth of support, in 5 - 6 years from now, someone will install win 11 on and old laptop ... that would be a high-end laptop of today

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. Def Silver badge

      Re: I'm confused...

      I guess* what they're actually doing is just saving the parts of files that were modified during the update.

      If the update delta, for example, contains replacement data for the bytes 1400-1900 of file A, then only those bytes need to be saved to be able to roll file A back to its original state. If file A happened to be 10MB in size, that's a considerable saving.

      Not exactly rocket science, and not something I would have bothered trying to patent (or something I would grant a patent for if it came across my desk). But in these dark times if you don't patent it, someone else will, and getting a patent invalidated probably costs 100 times as much as the patent application in the first place. *sigh*

      * If I really cared, I could go and read the patent for myself, but I really don't, so I won't.

    6. Iamnumpty

      Re: I'm confused...

      I guess for CoW snapshot to work Windows system protection has to be enabled with certain amount of free disk space. M$ engineering may not be confident enough on roling back entire file system due to lack of disk space etc. E.g. one may have created a business file and now the files system is rolled back and the file is gone. Another reason behind delivering forward and reverse updates is one can remove one or more updates (patches) individually as opposed to complete roll back. Why commit a complete roll back of multiple patches when you may only need removing a patch or two. Either way it may be pointless, after uninstalling a patch Windows will keep trying to apply the patch unless the patch is unapproved in corp environments, which regular users can’t.

  3. El blissett

    That would explain why the space age combination of an NVME boot drive and a RAID 0 storage array flunked the Windows 11 install out. If only I'd been using more common hardware, like a punch card and a magnetic tape, the slimmed down installer would have worked.

  4. fnusnu

    Windows 11, same as Windows 10

    Still embarrasing that the very first update for Windows 11 is to fix a remote code execution...

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Windows 11, same as Windows 10

      Just shows how much 'new' code there is in win11................ and how much old legacy code is in there

      And I'll bet anything theres janky 30 yr old code in win 11 no matter how much polish m$ put on it...

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: Windows 11, same as Windows 10

        Not sure I follow you here.

        Is it the new code that's causing the problem because it's new? Or is it the old code that hasn't been patched in the past?

        Or is it, as I suspect, simply code written by someone at Microsoft and therefore in your opinion it's bad no matter whether it's new or old?

  5. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    A patent for something that obvious? It doesn't strike me as a particularly novel step to generate the reverse diff as you apply the forward diff. I don't know if anybody does this. It strikes me as a bit risky (restoring the previous state vs restoring a known good state; discuss). But it wouldn't surprise me to find prior art.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      It's only a US patent, aka a rubber stamp allowing US patent lawyers to make mint to get it overturned.

      Prior art ? That's for lawyers to find, the US Patent Office doesn't have the time to check that, nor does it care to try.

  6. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    64-bit recompile?

    Did they just build a lot of apps as 32-bit versions instead of 64-bits?

  7. Swordfish1

    My computer s windows 11 compatible, as I've just ripped the guts out and upgraded, due to heating issues, but -

    Wife's 3 year old Ryzen 1800X ROG 32GB RAM TPM2. and secure boot enabled not compatible - all because Microsoft say the original Ryzen is not compatible although its ROG, with twin AMD 8GB graphics cards - They can shove it - I'm buggered if I'm paying even more money to upgrade the processor, and MB

    We got a 12 year old Lenovo,laptop, which is running windows 10 pro, 64bit and is bang up to date. Yes its slow to boot, but it works fine once booted. Now that I would agree not to be supported, but NOT a 3 year old computer, which cost me over 2K MICROSOFT . GRRRRRRRRR

    1. Dwarf Silver badge


      Swap out the old laptop hard disk for an SSD and give it a new lease of life.

      Just make sure the SSD is bigger (not difficult given its 12 years old), then with a Linux live memory stick, just dd across the old disk to the new one and you are done. Or find a manufacturer upgrade tool that will do the same on Windows.

  8. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Microsoft slices Windows 11 update size by 40%

    They are going to remove the bugs BEFORE distributing it.

    1. cosymart

      Re: Microsoft slices Windows 11 update size by 40%

      Don't be silly, what would they have to do prior to Windows 12 in 3 years time?

  9. Kev99

    Wouldn't it be simpler to just build kit that worked correctly the first go-round instead of needing repeated, weekly and monthly repairs and fixes?

    1. the Jim bloke Silver badge

      Whose side are you on ?

      That sounds like some kind of user-friendly heresy.

      Next you will be saying that buying the hardware gives some kind of rights for control over it.


      Just because they arent facebook, doesnt mean they are your friend..

    2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Wouldn't it be simpler...


      Not only.., but also: Anyone developing for the OS will not have a moving target to contend with. How much bloat is there in software if it has to detect the presence or absence of updates that affect it? In some cases none, but then software vendors have to maintain significant helpdesk resources to deal with the arising flak, which may include web-based boards where people have a problem, ask a question, then get bombarded with "have you got the latest update?", "remove xyz update, it is evil", etc.

      Every update increases the possibilities. It is easy to see they rise exponentially, making third-party products unmaintainable.

  10. Omnipresent

    They are not updates

    They are gathering your logs and app data... search engines and such. When was the last time any of you relied on microsoft for "security" lol.

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